Google has claimed that starting on January 10, 2017 they will be changing their algorithm once more when it comes to mobile sites. This new algorithm will prioritize mobile sites over desktop sites and will further penalize non-user friendly mobile site.
The new update will shift ranking power to mobile content, making it a heavier influence to a site's ranking than desktop. One of the largest reasons for this change is that as of Oct 2015 more than half of Google searches come from mobile devices.
"Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results."
– Doantam Phan, Google Product Manager
This means that the sites that will be most affected are sites that do not have a mobile version or those that have mobile site/ responsive sites that are not mobile friendly (to Google’s standards). Not just mobile friendliness is important; Google has noticed the growing number of intrusive interstitials on mobile sites and is cracking down on them. The reasoning for this is that sites with intrusive interstitials obscure the user’s visibility of content, causing user frustration and raising site bounce rates.
Examples of bad intrusive interstitials:
1. Popups that cover the main content (upon landing on the page or during the navigation)
These popups could be external ads, internal promotions or even email sign-ups. Any popup that covers the main content of a page will be infringing on the new Google standards and can negatively impact your mobile rankings.
For things like email sign-ups, changing the popups to reasonable content sized (such as a banner) would allow for the content to meet the new Google standards.
2. An overlay ad or content that must be dismissed (closed) before the main content is visible.
3. A half page ad or layout before that is pushing the content below the fold
But rest assured not all intrusive content will be seen as a negative thing. Ones that are for legal obligation such as cookies or age verification will not affect mobile rankings. Login content (that uses things like emails/ not publicly indexable) or settings and reasonable sized ad/content overlays will not hold a negative affect.
Examples of approved intrusive interstitials:
1. Legal obligation content
2. Overlay setting options
3. Reasonable content/ ad size
Though intrusive content is only one of hundreds of signals that are used for ranking, along with mobile friendliness, mobile will become a very strong signal that weights heavily on the final site and page rank. Now more than ever it is crucial to have a properly optimized mobile/ responsive site.
Are you ready for this change?
For Google’s full post on this new algorithm click here.
By Bethny Card
As a Digital Marketing Specialist, Bethny is a strong SEO resource for Thinkwrap and our clients. She holds an advanced diploma in Advertising, and brings with her over five years’ experience working in the digital marketing field across Canada and abroad. Her dedication to her career and thirst for knowledge contribute to her role helping customers achieve omnichannel growth maximum ROI.